Monday, December 27, 2010

#93: South Bend Heritage Foundation

Do you remember that first time that you felt like doing an hour or two of weekly volunteering was like picking away at a concrete wall with a fork?  No matter how much food you helped prepare at the homeless shelter, how much time you spent cleaning up garbage in a park, or how much money you collected for the local food bank, it didn't contribute to the prevention or destruction of those social ills.  Sure, it's good work, and it is absolutely necessary, but the root of the problem persists despite your hours and hours of work.

I've definitely felt that frustration, and it's because of that experience that I truly respect and admire organizations like the South Bend Heritage Foundation.  For 36 years, they have been  working to end the social problems that are harming and even destroying our South Bend neighborhoods.  SBHF first focused on historic preservation on the West Side, but eventually shifted their focus to the rehabilitation of homes in low income areas.  For example, they have created and maintained 275 affordable rental-housing units since 1992.  In addition to making these homes afforable, SBHF offers technical assistance to home buyers through their Lending Enterprise through Neighborhood Development program (LEND).  SBHF also operates a loan fund that has helped over 35 home owners restore their residence.  These are just a couple examples of their work.  Between all of their residential and commercial projects, cultural and youth programing, and the development of couple neighborhood centers throughout South Bend, SBHF has invested over $35 million in our city.

Here you can view their 2009 annual report.  Make sure to read the section entitled "Neighborhoods of Choice" beginning on page 4.  It explains the philosophy and real life practice of the SBHF beautifully. 

This  multi-faceted operation aids residents in improving and stabilizing their neighborhoods.  SBHF and other organizations like it target the elements that perpetuate poverty in South Bend.  Their work is not just about serving the needs of today; it's about preventing the needs of tomorrow.  

For information about how you can best aid SBHF in their mission, contact them at (574) 289-1066.  Donations can be mailed to:  South Bend Heritage Foundation, Attention: Judy Kukla, 803 Lincoln Way West, South Bend IN 46616. 
Additional contact info here.

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